Mother-daughter team, Judith and Kendon Spering, are introducting Philly Pretzel Factory to West Virginia this summer.
Judith and Kendon Spering are a mother-daughter team set to open the state's very first Philly Pretzel Factory this summer--once Kendon graduates from West Virginia University, that is.
In fact, despite being just 21-years old, Kendon will actually be the primary operator, responsible for running the day-to-day operations of Philly Pretzel Factory. After a 30-year career working at a Boeing manufacturing plant in IT, Judith will be helping with the behind-the-scenes work. Judith and Kendon first had Philly Pretzel Factory back near their hometown, a suburb of Philadelphia. Kendon became popular among her friends when she would bring back the pretzel snacks on return trips to Morgantown. Since Philly Pretzel is a hit on college campuses across the East Coast, Judith and Kendon decided that it was time to add the business to the Morgantown's list of restaurants on their own.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Judith: I grew up near Morgantown, my uncle was actually a professor at WVU. I've lived in Philly and New Jersey, so I've been used to eating these pretzels for a long time. I grew up in Eastern Ohio and went to Bowling Green State University where I studied education, but got into IT and went on to spend the next 30 years working at a Boeing manufacturing plant.
I've been around the food business, too, since my father ran his own dairy company. But after I began to work at Boeing, there was no real opportunity for me to re-enter the food industry. However, when I retired from Boeing four years ago with an injury, it allowed me to take some time to research franchising opportunities to pursue.
Kendon: I'm a 21-year-old student attending WVU, studying international business. We're from South Jersey, so we know all about Philly Pretzel Factory. As soon as I graduate this May, I'll be helping my mom and running the store day-to-day.
Why Philly Pretzel Factory?
Judith: Last summer, I was picking up a tray of pretzels from Philly Pretzel Factory near our home to take to the beach when I noticed some information about their franchising opportunities. I was amazed at how many stores there were. This past January, I visited their franchising website and saw that it was growing even more. I met with my accountant later that month where we looked at some more material and decided that we neede to do this. He reached out to them and I got an email from the corporate team the next morning.
Philly Pretzel Factory has systems in place to support us as well. That's one of the things that appealed to me most. The taste and quality of the food was important, too. Having a restaurant right by our home was always interesting; we'd have family and friends ask us to bring trays of pretzels to parties and tailgates. Kendon and I are going to work together well on this, given our mix of experiences. Right around 30 percent of the students at WVU are from New Jersey and are familiar with Philly Pretzel Factory, they just didn't have access to one, until we open one.
Kendon: Philly Pretzel Factory is a hit here. I'm always bringing them from home to have at tailgates for football games or to other events. People love them and I'm a huge fan myself. My mom and I have been talking about this for a little while and I felt like we had to jump in. I've worked a few different jobs in marketing that I believe has me prepared for this and to handle the day-to-day.
I'm 21, so understandably, there was a little hesitation from Philly Pretzel Factory to allow me to join the team, alongside my mom, and operate this location every day. But, after a full day of interviews with the corporate team, I had the chance to describe my work- and life-related experiences so I think I was able to convince them that I’d have no problem becoming the “boss.”